Discover more from The World of Tosh Berman
How Far Can You Go Into The Depths Of Despair?
Wednesday, November 17, 2021
“Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?” Pretty much the first thought when I wake up in the morning. Having the negative first, and then the positive second is much better than thinking “cup of coffee or should I kill myself?” Nevertheless, the real damage is done if there is no coffee in the house. Waking up in the morning is perhaps the most sensitive time you will ever experience. If you wake up the wrong way, it can destroy the rest of the day. And once the day is ruined, there is no way of getting it back again. So, I take extra precautions in the morning. I refuse to be awakened by an alarm clock. I pay a young girl on my block, whose duty is to come to my house around 6:30 in the morning. Her instructions are to put her naked ass near my face till I fully wake up. I have to admit lingering in bed for 15 minutes, just to enjoy her ass in such a fashion. Once I’m fully awake, she leaves. I can trust her, she’s a good sport and is working her way through Cal-Arts, so therefore I can trust her with the house key.
She also prepares the coffee before she comes into my bedroom. So, in theory, I can live for another 24 hours. For the past 311 days, I have been following a specific morning ritual, so I could write my daily narratives for my employee, Substack. The writing process is interesting because “there are some wounds that one can heal only by deepening them and making them worse.” People who have read my series of essays have commented to me “how far can you go into the depths of despair?” My stock answer is that I have an express elevator that goes from the top to the bottom of despair within seconds. To able to write, in my own manner, is really to rely on my charm. That’s the difference between ‘bad’ and ‘good’ writing. “You know what charm is: a way of getting the answer yes without having asked any clear question.” I’m good at that, and always have been. Yet, we all know deep down that I’m quite a failure. A friend of mine had commented to me “I expected better of you, Tosh.” I replied: “ Me too, but I got used to it.”
If I’m at home in Los Angeles, I start writing around 7:30 in the morning. I’m having the cup of coffee my ‘little helper’ made me, and as usual, I have a nice black and white photograph of the British model Jean Shrimpton. She is maybe the first female that made me aware that there is something sexual outside of my world. Of course, I was ten at the time, but I collected images of her in the film “Privilege” for whom she starred in with the pop singer Paul Jones. I couldn’t articulate my feelings for her as a child, and oddly enough to this day, I’m still struggling with how I feel about Jean. For whatever reasons, she was the first person who I reacted to due to her British accent. For sure, I have heard the accent, but this was the first time where I attached a face to a voice, and to this day, when I’m in a sexual situation, I think of her voice. I can actually hear it in my head. I’m not a firm believer in the ‘Muse, ’ but when I type, it is her voice that comes through me. What I find the most attractive about Jean, is “she genuinely didn’t care how she looked. She honestly never understood what all the fuss was about. ”
I wouldn’t say I have a love for Jean Shrimpton, because I don’t believe that it is that. Eros? “My own, self-consciousness cries out to me coldly: how does one love zero?” Yet, when I'm empty, that is when I am the happiest. Writing to me is a practice to empty one’s soul on a page, and then forgetting about it. “To be happy, we must not be too concerned with others.” Some time ago, I realized that Jean was just a symbol to me, not a real person. In fact, I don’t have anyone around me that is real. Even the four seasons that pass Los Angeles in such a manner that you can’t really notice it. But I do, because “autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” But even that, the seasons are used to mark time is passing. Most of my work is fiction because I’m interested in the truth, whatever that may be. “Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.” In other words, we need a narration of some sort. I can’t write a narrative piece if my life depended on it, and at this point in time, it clearly does. “I’m a man who knows nothing, guesses sometimes, finds frequently and who’s always amazed. ”
Inspired by Albert Camus, Jean Shrimpton, and Auguste Villiers de I’Isle-Adam.